AO2011 Day Two: A bit of this and that (by PJ)
I planned to blog this before Fed’s match tonight, but as Jelena Dokic is looking at exiting Rod Laver Arena in two seconds, this will be up in the midst of Roger’s match, in which I hope we’ll be all zen, sipping tea and nibbling cookies instead of tearing our hair our over…you know.
I started off Day 2 bright and early, with a Ground Pass for day session and RLA tickets for the night session. My player stalking session began with spotting Venus Williams practising with her Mumsy. I have to admit I am not an enthusiastic autograph seeker so I moved on after that.
I then settled in for two sets of tennis featuring Youzhny v Ilhan, in which the Colonel prevailed 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(5). It was pretty decent tennis – I have a thing for Youzhny and his backhand. But whoa, those Turkish fans were rowdy. The umpire had to tell them to shut it a few times and they didn’t necessarily listened either. As much as the yelling annoyed Youzhny, I gotta admit it added to the atmosphere.
I then hopped over to the Hisense side of show courts, for word on the street is that Roger will be practising at about 4PM. While making my way to the other side, I ran into Andy Toothface just finishing his practice. I didn’t have anything for him to sign, but because the crowd was kinda sparse (what a contrast to Roger/Rafa/Djokovic, really), I snapped a photo when he was in front of me, and I swear he stared at my yellow RF cap for a second longer than necessary.
Than I found out I used the wrong focus so he’s all blurry and not worth posting.
On the Hisense practice courts, I chanced upon Djokovic, and then Reeshie Gasquet.
I didn’t hang around for long, snapped the obligatory photo and moved on for one of my bookmarked matches, Dolgopolov v Kukushkin. I’ve been watching Dolgopolov ever since he gave Rafa a workout in the Madrid Masters last year.
Watching him play, the guy has got something. He has a really sharp serve. It’s not necessarily huge or booming, but it’s fast and crisp. I had like a premium seat as there were not a lot of people at his match, and it was a solid performance from Dolgo Guy. He played well to put Kukushkin away comfortably, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
And then it was trooping over to Court 16, wrestled for a spot, sat through half hour of Mardy Fish on court before Roger came on. When I got there – 1.5 hours before Roger was due to appear – space was decent, and I grabbed a spot at the railing, and reserved two other spots with my bag and a very unlady-like legs apart stance for LJ and Jodi. After a while, people started crowding me and this old lady with an ice-cream cone literally shoved me over. Fine, you’re old and you had an ice-cream that I do not want on my head, so I let her. Nevertheless, I got LJ over to help me hold fort, and Jodi arrived just in time before the crowds got crazy.
Roger arrived to cheers and whoops and a random call from one guy trying to be funny.
Guy: Roger, will you marry me?
Roger: *bounces ball*
Guy: You can pay for the wedding.
Needless to say, Roger did not agree to that suggestion. He hit for an hour with a junior German(?) player. I gotta say, guy keeps his concentration well with like over a hundred people all gaping at him from the sidelines, cameras going off and possibly half the females drooling. But then, he’s gotta be used to it by now.
As he was packing up, Clijsters arrived for her session. So I thought we wouldn’t get an autograph because he usually moves on if someone else has arrived. But to my surprise, he walked over, obliging and smiling and began doing his thing with the Sharpie.
I got my RF cap signed. I only snapped like two close-ups because I was too busy geting shoved. The wave of people (about 8-wall?) was just crushing all of us in the front. I gotta say that was an autograph-seeking experience of near-death proportions. People were CRAZY and HYSTERICAL. I know Roger is the bees’ knees and more, but there’s no need to be trampling and crushing people to death.
Oh, I also uploaded a few more of Roger’s practice photos HERE if anyone wants to peek at some.
I’m also kinda crazy, I think. I missed Delpo v Sela – a match that I really wanted to see – to hang around the practice court getting burned.
The two RLA night sessions, both highly hyped, are complete opposite scenarios. First, Safina v Clijsters. Safina came out – served poorly, returned poorly, played poorly, and her shots were not finding the court. It didn’t help that Clijsters was actually playing quite well, hitting winners all over the court. Safina came alive in the final game to put up a measure of fight, but when you’re behind 6-0, 5-0, that is kind of moot. And moot it was, as Clijsters broke again to win 6-0, 6-0.
Never has been a Safina fan, but watching her on court was excruciating. From the moment the first ball was struck, she didn’t believe in herself at all. She didn’t believe that she could win this, or play her game, and that made the match the way it was. I think the girl needs to regroup herself with the help of a sports psychologist.
As for that night match, I’ve said my piece on it here, so click to read if you wanna. All I can say now is that I am still feeling the heartbreak, and am still bemoaning the fact that the Hewitt/Nalbandian match-up was a first round. One good thing is that Hewitt will be joining the Channel 7 commentating team and I’m looking forward to that. After hearing him during the Hopman Cup, I have decided that he is actually a very good commentator, fair, unbiased and insightful. Yes, wonders will never cease.
Other tidbits of matches that I didn’t manage to catch:
1) Delpo v Sela. A tight first set, it looked like, and then Delpo managed the win in straights. This has got to boost the confidence of the big man. He will get better as he plays more, and I’m definitely intrigued to see his next match with Baghdatis.
2) Speaking of Baghdatis, he went five sets against Zemlja when he really shouldn’t have needed to. I’ll say it’s looking good for Delpo, but with Baggy, you can never tell whether he is going to be brilliant or be a complete bozo.
3) Petzschner v Jo-Willy. Up two sets to love, but Petzy just couldn’t do it, and Tsonga romped away for a 5-set victory. I like Jo, and I am most definitely waiting to see whether he could meet Rafa eventually. That could be an interesting match. Although in all honesty, I doubt Jo will get that far. He can be very head-casey at times.
4) Bobby Sod matched his best result ever at AO when he beat Potatoes, avoiding last year’s embarrassing exit (to Granola Bar). He plays Gilles Muller next – whom I remembered as the guy I was TOTALLY FREAKING OUT OVER because he played Feddy after his nightmare Andreev thing at USO08.
So let’s see how it all goes.
Post edited in this bit here, by the way. If you’d read it before, you know why. If you haven’t, nothing worth bothering about.
P.S. Photos are my own.
Edit: So we didn’t sip tea and nibble cookies. We were instead tearing our hair out and hyperventilating (I was, anyway). But our man lives to fight another day.